You probably feel like you're walking on eggshells. Having lost complete sense of your center of gravity, the third trimester can prove to be tricky for mommies-to-be. Shortness of breath, lack of balance, poor coordination and restricted bladder control are just some of the challenges you may experience. Unless you're one of the few who have been asked to restrict movement in this last leg of pregnancy, working out can prove to be quite beneficial for you and for your delivery.
Don't worry too much about the weight you've gained. The extra pounds help the baby build its fat reserves and strengthen her bones. Experts urge you to exercise in order to relax and keep your body engaged, but not with the intention of losing weight.
Rules To Working Out In The Third Trimester
Invest about 30 minutes every day to indulge in light-to-moderate exercises. This will help keep your sugar and blood pressure levels in check. At this point, your weight throws your balance off. Colleen Riddle, a certified pre- and post-natal exercise specialist, recommends a way to stabilize the joints. "As the third trimester comes around, it’s important to watch how deep you do your squats. I recommend my clients put a stability ball behind their back for support when exercising. At this point, your ovary and placenta are secreting a hormone called relaxin which can make you feel more flexibile but this should be kept in check," she explains. Using stabilizer props like Bosu balls, pillows, chairs, or towels can help cushion impact and reduce the pressure on your body.
For a foolproof plan, consult with both your healthcare provider and trainer. Also, some simple things you must always remember include:
- Drinking a lot of water
- Indulging in stretches, whenever, wherever, however
- Taking breaks when you are tired or feel short on breath
- Wearing comfortable apparel and grounded shoes with lots of traction to avoid slips and falls
Exercises Recommended For The Third Trimester
- With a baby growing within you, it is difficult to move around, so Colleen Riddle suggests lower body exercises to increase mobility. "After the fifth month, the hips won’t move as well and range of motion can be restricted. Leg strengthening exercises (like squats w/ball) will help strengthen quadriceps and reduce risk of injury to knees. Also, planks are one of the best core building exercises and can be done all the way throughout the pregnancy."
- "Most of my clients experience extreme fatigue, discomfort, and back pain at this time," says Sarah Ann Kelly, who is the founder of MomTrainer.com. She recommends: "Pelvic tilts. They not only strengthen your ever-so-important pelvic floor and prevent diastasis recti ("split abs"), they also help alleviate lower back pain; best part, you can do them sitting down!"
- California-based prenatal trainer Amanda Dale vouches for bodyweight exercises. She explains, "This is a great time to use that weight to the mom's advantage and try bodyweight exercises such as push-ups against the wall (avoiding getting up and down from the floor), squats (using the benefit of increased hip flexibility at this stage), and side-lying work such as side planks and the Pilates side-legs series. Body resistance exercises of this type—and even more vigorous forms, such as those including small hand weights—do not have adverse effects on apparently healthy pregnant women."
As you approach the day of delivery, engage in light activities such as walking, which seems to be an all-time favorite among pregnant women. It exercises the muscles in the lower body, preparing your body for the birthing process.
Wishing you a safe delivery and healthy baby, mommy.